Nutrition Literacy and Health Outcomes in Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes
Objective: To investigate older adults with type 2 diabetes in terms of their 1) overall nutrition literacy, basic, interactive and critical aspects of their nutrition literacy; 2) relationship between personal factors and nutrition literacy; and 3) relationship between nutrition literacy and health outcomes.
Design: Descriptive correlational research.
Methodology: The participants, recruited through purposive sampling, were 300 older adults with type 2 diabetes being treated at the diabetes clinic of a community hospital in Pathum Thani province. Data were collected using a questionnaire and a health outcome record form. The data were then analysed using descriptive statistics, biserial correlations, and Spearman’s correlation coeffcient.
Results: The majority of participants possessed a moderate degree of overall nutrition literacy, showing moderate nutrition literacy degrees at both the basic and interactive levels. At the critical level, on the other hand, a moderate degree of nutrition literacy was observed amongst early older adults and mid-older adults, whilst a low degree was observed amongst late older adults. The participants’ personal factors, namely, age, education level, income and nutrition information resources, were signifcantly correlated with their overall nutrition literacy. Their overall nutrition literacy was also signifcantly related to their waist circumference. Finally, a statistically signifcant relationship was identifed between the participants’ functional and critical nutrition literacy and their diastolic blood pressure.
Recommendations: It is recommended that nurses and healthcare team develop appropriate materials and methods, as well as diversify communication channels, to properly promote nutrition literacy amongst older adults with type 2 diabetes. Patients with a particular need of these forms of support include late older adults with low education, low income and limited access to nutrition information. Also, family members and caregivers should be engaged to promote nutrition literacy and initiate appropriate food consumption behaviours, to help older adults with type 2 diabetes produce desirable health outcomes.
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